The Shanghai East Hall Library proposal envisioned a “library that feels like a large house for all,” according to the press release, and the concept recently won a Architizer A+Award in the Unbuilt Institutional category earlier this year in 2017. nARCHITECTS’ design also beat out over 200 entries for first prize in the 2016 International Young Architects Design Competition, which was aimed at “enhancing Shanghai’s unique cultural influence and promoting qualities of public lives.”
The library’s cylindrical shape “results in a compact urban form” and consists of four open levels that provide separate “environments, each connected to exterior gardens at every level, as well as to each other.” Inspired by intimate connections between “people, media and nature in libraries of the ancient world,” the design concept was imagined as a public house for all Shanghai’s citizens. nARCHITECTS’ entitled their proposal “Library as Home” to bring this concept of community – and the intersectionality with nature – full circle.
The design scheme is “characterized by open doors that connect library activities to nature and the city beyond,” says the release. This interconnectivity between nature and the urban landscape mirrors the design of Tian Yi Ge, China’s oldest private library, which is also known for its beautiful rock gardens, bamboo groves, and traditional Chinese architecture.
The Shanghai East Hall Library’s open and compact floors simplify “the public’s understanding of the large building as a home for all,” says the release, and each environment of the space is dedicated to a specific function, including researching, socializing, and archiving. Each open-level floor has access to exterior gardens, allowing for fluidity between nature and the manmade structure.
Only time will tell if this stunning egalitarian 110,000-square meter structure will be realized, but we certainly hope so.